Shostakovich returns to the UCA Feb. 8

Story by McKenna Shuler

The Colorado State University Symphony Orchestra, led by Maestro Wes Kenney, will give what is sure to be a fascinating concert on Wednesday, Feb. 8, with some of the university’s best percussion, string and wind players performing.

A main piece from the repertoire of this concert is Symphony No. 1 by Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich. The symphony was composed during the early 1920s, and was first performed in 1926 by the Leningrad Philharmonic. The work is simultaneously invigorating and intriguing, leaving listeners on the edge of their seats from start to finish. A number of solo instruments are featured throughout the symphony, which showcases the incredible talent of the musicians from the School of Music, Theatre and Dance.

The work begins with a melody established by solo trumpet and bassoon, before the ensemble takes off into something resembling a march. This is followed by a flute melody that is passed around through various sections before the second movement. This movement is just as lively as the first, and even harkens back to the melody established in the previous movement. The third movement allows brief respite from the excitement, but develops into a crescendo leading into the fourth and final movement, which ends with a fanfare that’s sure to bring the audience to its feet.

The concert will also feature Suite Provençale by David Milhaud. Written in 1936, this piece is based on traditional music, but possesses its own “modern” flair. Close your eyes while listening to this piece, and you’ll immediately be whisked off to Provence in southern France. The piece is, in a sense, a fresh breath of French air in the world of music, even 80 years after it was originally composed.

Milhaud’s compositions is written in eight parts, though they are performed all together as one movement. Overall, the suite is airy and light-hearted, which offers a great contrast to Shostakovich’s symphony. It is also more laid back – or at the very least is not the same intensity – though it is still bright and just as full of life. Suite Provençale will showcase the symphony more as a whole ensemble, as opposed to a number of soloists.

The blending of these two compositions is ingenious, as they play against each other to truly bring out the abilities of the multitalented musicians. And with Kenney’s seal of approval, describing these pieces as “Russian and French music of excellence,” the concert is sure to be memorable!

Ticket Information

Tickets for the performance are no charge for full-fee paying CSU students, $1 for youth (under 18), and $12 for the public. Tickets are available at the University Center for the Arts ticket office in the UCA lobby Monday through Friday, 3:30-5:30 p.m. and 60 minutes prior to performances, by phone at (970) 491-ARTS (2787), or online here.

About the UCA

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